Lodi, NJ Train Wreck, Apr 1872
Terrible Railroad Accident.
A Passenger Train Breaks Through an Insecure Bridge.
The Train A Complete Wreck.
A Brakeman Instantly Killed and Several Persons Dangerously Wounded â€“ Not One Passenger on Board Free from Injury.
That portion of the New York and Oswego Railroad line lying within the State of New Jersey is known as the New Jersey Midland Railroad Company. This road has but recently been completed between Paterzon (sic) and Hackensack, and regular passenger trains have been running about a month. Opening a region of country heretofore isolated and being the first means of communication between Paterson and Hackensack, the road has been remarkably well patronized.
Nearly all the bridges along the line, between Paterson and Hackensack are of the â€œPost Patent Combinationâ€, made of wood and iron, and built by the Watson Manufacturing Company, in Paterson. These bridges have proven dangerous failures. One of these combination bridges was the cause of a
yesterday morning on the New Jersey Midland Railway, at the Lodi crossing of Saddle River, which is about four miles from Paterson and one mile and a half from Hackensack. Saddle River is a mere brook in the dry season, but frequently swells up during storms. The combination bridge on which the Midland crosses is a single span of sixty-five feet. The employes (sic) have always been afraid of it, as it swayed and bent; but the Watson Manufacturing Company being a responsible corporation the railroad company placed faith in their protestations that the bridge was perfectly safe.
At five oâ€™clock yesterday morning a train of sixteen freight cars, loaded with gravel, passed over safely; but it is supposed that it
Snapped The Timbers
and that it was then held together simply by the small iron rods. The next train left Paterson for Hackensack at eight oâ€™clock. It consisted of the locomotive, one passenger car and two freight cars, the latter in the rear. In addition to the train hands and railroad employes (sic) there were twenty-five passengers, who got on at Paterson. Arriving at the Lodi Bridge, the locomotive rushed over safely, but just as the passenger train was crossing the bridge actually snapped in two at the middle as sharply as a match, and went down with the passenger car in a
while the locomotive on one end and the baggage cars on the other were pulled in on top of the passenger car. The latter settled down on one end, landing the passengers, seats, stoves and broken timbers of the cars and bridge in one confused heap at the bottom of the river, which is six or eight feet in depth. It seems miraculous that the affrighted passengers escaped immediate death. Yet there was but one man killed outright, a brakeman names JOHN R. DOREMUS. One side of his head was swept off, and his legs and arms were mangled frightfully. The tender was thrown to a distance of seventy feet, the passenger car was smashed to atoms and the freight car completely demolished, and there was nothing visible but a mass of timbers and bent iron.
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